- 1 vanilla bean (or 1 tbsp vanilla)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fleur de sel or flake sea salt or kosher salt
- 1/4 cup light corn syrup (2.89 ounces / 82 grams)
- 1/4 cup water (2 ounces / 235.9 grams)
- 1 1/3 cups (9 1/3 ounces) sugar
Cut vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Using tip of paring knife, scrape out seeds. Combine vanilla bean seeds, cream, butter, and 1 teaspoon fleur de sel in small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to boil, cover, remove from heat, and let steep for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, make parchment sling for 8-inch square baking pan by folding 2 long sheets of parchment paper so each is 8 inches wide. Lay sheets of parchment in greased pan perpendicular to each other, with extra parchment hanging over edges of pan. Push parchment into corners and up sides of pan, smoothing parchment flush to pan. Grease parchment; set aside.
Combine corn syrup and water in large saucepan. Pour sugar into center of pan (do not let sugar hit pan sides). Bring to boil over medium-high heat, and cook, without stirring, until sugar has dissolved completely and syrup has faint golden color and registers 300 degrees, 7 to 9 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook, gently swirling pan, until mixture is amber colored and registers 350 degrees, 2 to 3 minutes.
Off heat, carefully stir in cream mixture (mixture will foam up). Return mixture to medium-high heat, and cook, stirring frequently, until caramel reaches 248 degrees, about 5 minutes.
Carefully transfer caramel to prepared baking pan. Using greased rubber spatula, smooth surface of caramel, and let cool for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining ½ teaspoon fleur de sel and then let cool to room temperature, about 1 hour. Transfer to refrigerator and chill until caramel is completely solid and cold to touch, about 1 hour.
Lift parchment sling out of baking pan and place on cutting board. Peel parchment away from caramel. Cut caramel into ¾-inch-wide strips and then crosswise into ¾-inch pieces. Individually wrap pieces in waxed-paper squares, twisting ends of paper to close. Caramels can be refrigerated for up to 3 weeks.